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Oil prices recoup losses as Russia-Ukraine tensions stay high

An oil & gas pump jack is seen near Granum, Alberta, Canada May 6, 2020. Picture taken May 6, 2020

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016.

Oil prices recouped losses on Wednesday as investors weighed conflicting statements on the possible withdrawal of some Russian troops from around Ukraine amid tight global supplies and recovering fuel demand.

Brent traded at $93.86 a barrel around 1000 GMT, up 62 cents, or 0.6%, having slid 3.3% overnight after Russia announced a partial pullback of its troops near Ukraine.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $92.64 a barrel, up 62 cents, or 0.6%, after the contract ended Tuesday’s session down 3.6%.

Both benchmarks hit their highest since September 2014 on Monday, with Brent touching $96.78 and WTI reaching $95.82.

The price of Brent jumped 50% in 2021, while WTI soared about 60%, as a global recovery in demand from the COVID-19 pandemic strained supply.

Moscow announced a partial pullback of troops from Ukraine’s borders, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday the alliance had not seen any de-escalation, but rather that Russia was continuing its military build-up. read more

“The risk of a full scale invasion has receded a bit. But we are unlikely to move out of the current status quo,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB in Oslo.

Beyond Ukraine tensions, the oil market remains tight and prices could still be on course for a move towards $100 a barrel.

“The price action has been an incredibly bullish one-way-street higher since just before Christmas. You don’t see this kind of price action unless the market is very tight,” Schieldrop added.

Investors await weekly U.S. oil inventories data from the Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. (1530 GMT).

U.S. crude and distillates inventories may have fallen by 1.5 million to 1.6 million barrels last week, a Reuters poll showed.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a drop in crude, gasoline and distillate stocks last week, according to market sources on Tuesday.

Additioanl reporting by Chen Aizhu and Florence Tan Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Mark Potter

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